Use of the microarrays to study the mechanism of action of new anticancer drugs

Sergio Marchini, Giovanna Chiorino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microarrays are a new promising tool for high throughput analysis of differences in gene expression profile. Microarray technology has been founded on a number of important technical developments that have emerged over the last three decades: microblotting, PCR, and the availability of ten of thousands of sequenced cDNA and EST clones from the human genome project. The ability to carry out investigations on genome wide scale is deeply revolutionising different area of molecular medicine; this is because changes in the molecular phenotype of a cell to external stimuli should be reflected by its transcriptional profile. In a broader sense, gene expression can potentially provide information about biochemical and biological pathways or regulatory mechanism of the cell. In the present chapter we will describe the two main types of microarrays commercially available and will discuss two applications of this technology. That is, the characterisation, from a molecular point of view, of the mechanism of action of new promising anticancer agents and the gene expression profiling of two human ovarian cancer cell lines stably transfected with the p73α cDNA. We will also present and discuss some topics related to the analysis of gene expression data. This is another important feature of the microarray technology and consists of different steps: data acquisition, image analysis, definition of intensity signal, normalisation of expression ratios, comparison of replicates, classification of gene expression profiles, etc. Particular stress is laid on the importance of doing replicates, since there are many sources of variability and this is the only mean to obtain statistically significant results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-280
Number of pages12
JournalMinerva Biotecnologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Antineoplastic agents
  • Gene expression profiling
  • Oligonucleotide array sequence analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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